IMAGE QUEST PHOTOGRAPHY                               

October Light
Yosemite Conservancy

Participant Profiles

Nina Bataller: I spend a lot of time thinking about what makes someone a photographer. I’ve had old timers tell me that you’re not a photographer unless you earn 100% of your income from photography. I’ve had kids tell me they’re photographers because they just got an iPhone and use it to take great photos. I fall somewhere in between.  

My first job from age 18-22 was photographer’s assistant. Years later, my first published photo was in the NY Times, in 1998. An image of Dick Cavett on horseback at a Wild West Show in Montauk NY.  I’ve since been published in The East Hampton Star, and in a few small trade publications. I’ve won a couple awards in local contests over the years. But I’ve never made my living from taking pictures. Instead I opened a picture frame shop and have owned one almost 40 years.

I recently published my first issue of PhotoAuthority Magazine, available in the Apple App Store right now. Soon to be in Google Play. Ken Rockwell is my first Photo Authority in the magazine, so I’m a total fan and can’t wait to finally meet him! Now that I’ve read three of Dave’s books preparing for this trip, I’m excited to meet him too!

I think of myself as a travel photographer and don’t do much with my photos in post production. I have a self imposed rule of spending no more than 3 minutes editing on any one image. If it takes me longer than that, it’s usually just not that good an image to bother with. I try to get things right in the camera. Sometimes I succeed. 

I’ve had a camera within arms reach for 45 years or so. Over those years I have traveled to 30 countries to shoot. I've spent at least a month shooting in more than a dozen countries. I usually travel alone and hire guides when I need them. Occasionally I have joined a photo workshop over the years. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the company of other photographers and not having to scout all my own locations.

My most memorable journeys have been to Myanmar back when it was still nearly impossible to get in, several lengthy photo trips throughout Indonesia, a month in Egypt and volunteering as a photographer in Kenya’s Maasai Mara for both Free the Children and Naboisho Animal Conservancy. Spending a month with eagle hunters in Mongolia a few years ago was pretty cool too.

I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and can’t wait to see this part of the country for the first time.


Hello!  Al Oakley, from Arlington, Virginia.  I had enjoyed amateur film photograph over the years, but put it aside in the mid-90's to motorcycle all over the United States and parts of Canada and Alaska.  Except for smart phones and a few pocket cameras I almost totally missed the emergence of digital photography, until about two years ago when I purchased a Canon 6D.  Since then I've taken a few local digital photo courses through Smithsonian Associates, and I've learned to process my images through standalone Lightroom 6 and Photoshop Elements. 

I just this week bought the new Canon EOS R with the 24-105 f/4 lens and I've been rather desperately trying to get familiar with its operation before my very first visit to Yosemite!  I'll be the rookie of the bunch at the up coming workshop!  See you soon!


Dale Elliot: I live in San Jose, CA where I'm a software engineer at a well-known global video streaming subscription service. I'm originally from North Carolina and grew up hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and "building character" on the local tobacco farm. My wife and I moved west in the 90's. I fell in love with Yosemite during my first brief trip there in 1997. I've been back many times, discovering new parts of the park and -- recently -- backpacking in the high country. I've visited in every season EXCEPT autumn. I'm thrilled to be taking part in this workshop and looking forward to capturing the fall colors.

I classify myself as an "Enthusiastic Amateur" when it comes to photography. I've enjoyed the science and art of photography ever since I received a Kodak Instamatic camera at the age of 15. Two years later, I acquired used black-and-white darkroom equipment from the local paper and was buying Tri-X Pan film in 100' rolls. I'll never forget the magic that occurred in the developer tray the first time I saw white paper turn into my very own photograph. Fast forward through 24 years and a series of point-and-shoot, range-finder, and SLR cameras to my first D-SLR in 2002. Digital photography rekindled my love of the art and gave me wonderful new ways to experiment. It is my favorite creative outlet, because it combines my loves of the outdoors, art, travel, and technology.


Bill Rogers: I’m a photographer working and living in Los Angeles. I’ve worked in various fields within the photographic industry. I’ve taught photography, worked in publishing, in photo retail (managing a chain of camera stores) and for many years owned and operated a commercial studio in Culver City.

Today I split my time between commercial clients, private tutoring, working on personal photo projects and traveling. I’m especially interested in urban and natural landscapes. My travels have taken him throughout the US, Europe, Middle East and East Africa.

I’ll be accompanying Ken and Dave on their prior autumn workshop on the other sides of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Photographing in this part of California is especially beautiful this time of year. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone.

Bill Tetons.jpg

Mike Stone: I am from the Chicago area. I am a police sergeant from a Chicago suburb and thoroughly enjoy photography in my downtime.  I would consider myself a serious amateur and I am constantly looking for ways to improve myself by either going on workshops and/or learning from others. My biggest challenge is composition and lack of beautiful mountain scenery in Illinois. 

I primarily shoot landscapes but also enjoy other types of photography.  I have been on numerous trips with Dave and Ken and have always left with more knowledge and a better understanding of photography. I really enjoy coming to Yosemite;  I have been here several times in the fall but always seem to find something new to photograph. I look forward to meeting everyone.


Hello, I’m Bruce McDermott. I’m a retired advertising executive living in South Orange County. I’ve always been fascinated with capturing images and documenting things since my early 20s and have only taken one serious ‘intro to photography class’ in college. Ever since that class, I’m always the one in the group capturing the activities, be it with a polaroid camera or any newer device that comes along. 

Most of my recent work is based, like many of us, on the convenience of iPhone photography. But night photography has intrigued me to the point of wanting to explore more with a DSLR and all of the equipment that comes with that journey. With more time (and patience) I’m eager to learn more about landscape photography and explore the potential with night photography and astrophotography. 

I look forward meeting the group and instructors and learning as much as I can from one another and just take in the grandeur of the spectacular locales.  


My name is Michael Petryk - I am a participant in the upcoming
photography trip to Yosemite. This is my response to your email of
today requesting that participants provide some information about
themselves.  I am a Canadian and have never before been to Yosemite,
however, I frequent the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

I began my foray into photography underwater.  As an avid scuba diver
and father of two young children I found it difficult to justify
adding a few days for scuba diving onto the end of business trips
while leaving my wife at home to take care of our children.  To that
end I bought a waterproof housing for my P&S camera and started a
facebook account so that my wife could relax with my kids in front of
the computer and see what I had seen that day diving.

I am a scientist with the Canadian Department of National Defence and
have a degree in spectroscopy - I measure the properties of matter
using light of various colours.  Given that background, I take
naturally to the technical aspects of photography. I feel that my main
challenge lies in composition.  Most of my photos are of nature and
landscapes - I am beginning to venture into street photography which I
find challenging.

I prefer taking photos to discussing and critiquing photos.  I also
have a general aversion to B&W photography because I feel that it is
overused to the point of being a cliche.  Do not get me wrong - I do
convert some photos to B&W where I feel that it will improve the
image.  I guess that I have just seen too many photos of grizzled old
coal miners in B&W with the contrast bumped up too high.

I look forward to meeting you, Ken and the other host next week.


About the photos:

1. A photo of me in my Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) protective
ensemble holding a nerve agent antidote auto-injector.  Reason for
inclusion: who else can boast of such a business suit? :)
2. A photo of me near a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CT-114 Tutor
aircraft. Reason for inclusion: you asked for a photo of me.
3. A photo of a rushing stream taken in Capilano (near Vancouver, BC).
This is typical of the type of photography that I do.
4. A photo fish in the Red Sea diving in Israel.  This is typical of the type of photography that I do.

Cynthia Fiacco: I’m a wife, mother of 2 grown girls, family nurse practitioner. I serve on the Board of US Hiking. I lead hiking, cycling and camping trips. I also serve my professional association by acting as President of the Channel Islands Chapter of CANP. I am an adjunct professor for APU, USC and USF. I mentor NP students earning their masters or doctoral degrees. 

Besides my outdoor activities I love music of all kinds. My college minor was vocal performance. In fact it provided revenue to pay for college by singing for Weddings and memorial services. 

Looking forward to learning in Yosemite. Thanks for leading

Jonathan Kelway: I’ve been a hobbyist photographer for 10 years after being inspired by my uncle’s work. I’m 31 and from England.

I’ve learnt a lot from Ken over the years especially in terms of light and composition. I’m also a fan of his style of reviews and based many purchases on his comments. I even share his taste on hifi equipment!

My favourite subjects are landscapes and candid portraits. For this reason I use a Canon 6D and Fuji X100s. Really I just enjoy getting out there and taking photos of whatever!

I’ve never done a workshop on this scale before but I’m really looking forward to it.

jonathan kelway.jpeg

Dave Wyman: My mom gave me my first camera when I was seven. That was 63 years ago. I still have some of my first photos, which I made of my second grade classmates. As I grew, my interest in photography grew, too, which included a desire to document my travels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. That eventually led a job at the the University of Southern California, where I created the Adventure Photography Program. Since then, I've conducted hundreds of photo outings for USC, UCLA, the Yosemite Conservancy and other natural history associations. I also conduct my own Image Quest photography tours. And I've authored four photo-oriented books. 

Although I conduct far fewer photo trips now, I still love making pictures of nature and connecting with other photographers. And I am reputed to have taken the first documented selfie.